According to the Freelancing in America 2017 survey provided by Upwork, 57.3 million people in the USA are doing freelance work. The study also predicts that the majority of the workforce will consist of freelancers by 2027. Currently, 47% of Millennial workers are doing freelance work.
We’ll give you a moment to think about that fact.
The gig economy is getting stronger by the day. More and more people decide to start working from home or while traveling, and more employers decide to count on remote freelancers when they need additions in their team.
Maybe a new trend will prove these predictions wrong, but what we can say for sure today, however, is that hiring remote workers can make a huge difference for your team… in a good way!
Look at WordPress, where the majority of their 200+ employees work remotely. GitHub also has two-thirds of its workforce working remotely. These companies have done well and a big part of their success is making remote work a part of their DNA.
Just because someone shows up on time to work doesn't mean they are actually working. There is no passing grade for perfect attendance. It's much better to judge work based on employees' output.
Freelance workers will save you some money. The competition on that market is brutal, so you can easily find someone who will do great work for an affordable price. The fact that you can count on remote workers from all over the world is another one of the benefits. You have a greater pool of talent to explore.
As in any other industry, you may end up dealing with bad workers when finding freelancers. You’ll have to avoid them and find the best candidate for the remote role you have in mind. How exactly will you do that? We have some tips for you to follow:
1. Create a Detailed Job Description
Employers know that the job description is an extremely important element of the hiring process. First of all, you have to know what type of worker you’re looking for in order to create a job description that attracts the right people.
You should do the same when creating the description for a remote job. It’s important to list all expectations. Know what you’re looking for! Here are a few elements you should emphasize in the job description:
Professionalism and time-management skills- Set up a Google Form with focused questions that allow you to get information about the candidate’s character, time-management skills, and experience.
Technical skills - Ability to use word processors, graphic design software, video editing software, and whatever else that’s important for this job
Once you have your job description, compare it to candidate credentials. When hiring remote workers through freelancer platforms, employers sometimes skip asking for a resume and cover letter. This puts you in danger of hiring a decent worker who’s simply not right for the type of job you offer. A cover letter will help you evaluate their relevance for the position as well as their writing skills.
2. Pay Attention to Their Communication Skills
Communication is crucial when you’re about to start working with freelancers. You won’t have direct contact with them, so you have to make sure they are able to understand the instructions and communicate any issues as effectively as possible through the methods they have at disposal.
Introverts are not great at office jobs because they don’t usually like small talk and can't connect well with the rest of the staff. Freelancing is perfect for introverts, so it’s no wonder why so many introverts opt for remote jobs. On an Upwork community thread, users expressed similar opinions. It doesn't matter whether the best freelance workers are introverts or extroverts, what does matter is their ability to communicate effectively with you and the team they collaborate with.
The good thing is that you can easily test their communication skills:
Search for candidates who emphasize communication skills on their resume.
Evaluate the communication during the hiring process. Your perfect candidate should not take too long to respond to emails. They should answer your questions in a straightforward manner. They should also ask meaningful questions to clarify the instructions.
If you’re hiring international remote workers, pay attention to the time zones. You cannot expect for someone to answer immediately if they get the message in the middle of the night. However, if it takes more than 12 hours to get your responses, you may have a communication problem with that candidate.
Don’t consider email as the exclusive tool for communication. You have many other tools to count on such as Trello, Google Docs, Slack, Skype, and Asana to name a few. When you expect effective communication, you have to suggest the tools that will support it.
You can also purposefully leave something out from the initial instructions, so you’ll see how they will handle a situation when they don’t have enough information to do the work.
3. Evaluate Their Ability to Work in Isolation
Many people decide to try freelance work as the most convenient option to make and save money. It all seems easy at first: they will wake up whenever they want, work whenever they want, and rest whenever they want. However, once they start doing the work, they realize it’s not that easy after all.
It can be hard for remote workers to make a precise schedule and stick to it. Since they are not under the strict control of the employer, it’s easy for them to procrastinate and then rush to meet a deadline. Procrastination is the main culprit why many remote workers are not doing their best work.
Another problem is many people cannot handle long periods of solitude. They need direct contact with people, so isolation with many hours of remote work kills them. These types of people are not ideal for remote workers.
If the candidate doesn’t have previous experience with remote work, you should be very careful. You can give them a chance if they seem like the perfect choice for the job from other aspects. However, you should carefully evaluate their ability to stay productive when they are not being controlled on a daily basis. Ask for updates on their progress and request the work to be delivered in stages.
Rich Anand Co-founder of Evolvez Agency, LLC suggests that in order to check a candidate's ability to handle working remotely, you need to start off with a trial period.
"Assign the freelancer a small task/responsibility and track the result. Also focus on items like, ability to hit a deadline, work quality, communication skills, etc. This is a good way to test if the freelancer is someone you'd be willing to work on for the longer project.
4. Make Sure You’re Dealing with a Disciplined Person
Self-discipline and time-management are the main factors of success when it comes to remote work. You may have the best graphic designer in the world, but the experience will be a disaster if they cannot stay on schedule.
Sometimes it’s easy. For example, when you’re hiring remote workers for essay writing services, the agency will guarantee timely delivery and will control its workers. In most other situations though the employer or team leader is in charge of the control and things can easily go wrong.
You absolutely need to hire someone who has time-management and priority-setting skills. That’s not an easy thing to assess.
Test for time management ability. When an applicant states they are good with time management, you should ask for proof. Give them one or a few test jobs and see how quickly and effectively they will perform. You should also ask for their previous experiences, so they can explain how exactly they are being effective in their work.
Pay attention to their portfolio. If you notice they were doing long-term work for some of their clients, it means that other employers were happy with their performance. If you notice they were juggling multiple tasks at the same time and they completed them successfully, you’re still on a good track to find a disciplined remote worker.
Ask what time-management techniques they use. If the candidate doesn't have a good response, you may have a problem. Try to find someone with specific productivity techniques who can show you that you’re dealing with a person who cares about setting priorities and meeting deadlines.
Remote workers are part of the future of all industries. Any type of organization can gain huge benefits by relying on the freelance force. You just need a good strategy to help you hire the right people in your team. Hopefully, the tips above will help you create it.
Harnessing her own personal motivation, Laura Buckler is a contributor and freelance writer. She believes everyone should recognize and achieve their potential by showing how life is simple with the right mindset. You can follow Laura on Twitter.